Re: Natural Theology, Unguided Processes and Apologetics

Murphy (
Fri, 12 Sep 1997 18:32:37 -0400

Jack Collins wrote:

> The advocates of ID perhaps need to be clear on just what they mean by
> "design". Hugh Ross is closer to traditional "arguments from design", but
> Bill Dembski is referring to _the imposition of design by an intelligent
> agent_, and this _can_ correspond to the notion of "supernatural
> intervention". We all readily recognise Stonehenge as "designed" in that
> sense, since its configuration is not an outcome of the natural properties
> of the stones that make it up. (Or at least, most people are content to
> think so.) It is clearly distinct from the rock formations one finds in
> the American Southwest, which are "naturally" explicable. It's only
> illegitimate to ask whether we find "Stonehenge-type design" in the world
> of nature, if you are committed ahead of time to the position that such
> questions are invalid; and this is not a subject in which a natural
> scientist (as a natural scientist) is more qualified to give a judgment
> than, say, philosophers or theologians (although obviously many scientists
> are interested enough to try to gain the competence, and many theologians
> and philosophers don't know what they're talking about!).

There is no question that we find things which, in various ways,
are "designed". When we find a stone ax, we conclude that it's a
product of "intelligent design" - & then can try to use scientific
techniques to learn how the design was formulated & carried out. In a
different way, we realize that eyes function to detect light signals, &
try to study processes by which such organic optical instruments might
have developed. But when ID people conclude that something is the
result of capitalized Intelligent Design, we're supposed to believe that
scientifically understandable processes could not have produced it and
stop our investigation at that point.

George L. Murphy